Government changes rules of defense forces to appoint next CDS

8 June, 2022 | Pravina Srivastava

Six months after the death of General Bipin Rawat, Centre has amended three service acts

Six months after the death of General Bipin Rawat, the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff, the Centre has taken efforts to choose his successor by amending three service acts to allow retired commanders in the pool of officers to be considered for the top defence forces’ position.

As per reports, both serving and retired officers would be considered for the next CDS appointment, and on June 6, the Ministry of Defence issued three separate gazette notifications amending regulations related to the appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff in three different defence forces.

According to the announcements, officers serving as Lt Gen equivalents or General equivalents, or officers who have retired in the rank of Lt Gen or Gen but have not reached the age of 62 years on the date of appointment, may be considered for appointment as CDS.

Later the revised notification states that the only serving and former commander-in-chief rank officers would be considered for an appointment.

The recently retired chiefs would likewise be out of the loop because they have reached the top age requirement of 62.

The appointment of the CDS by the Narendra Modi government just six months after regaining power in 2019 has been regarded as one of the country’s most significant military reforms.

With all fighting units reporting directly to it, the CDS office and the theatre command that will be built and placed under its authority are projected to make it the strongest military office in the country.

The CDS was named Secretary of the Department of Military Affairs, which is currently led by a Lieutenant General with the rank of Additional Secretary.

It also serves as the Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff, which is currently led by an Indian Air Force three-star general.

The government has also assigned the CDS the task of promoting and ensuring the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative in the defence industry, as well as in charge of the Make in India in military programme.

General Rawat used to devote the most of his time to promoting self-reliance in defence and was also in charge of releasing the positive list of indigenisation, which identified things that were placed on the import ban list in order to stimulate job creation in the country.

The CDS is also the government’s single point of contact for military advice and the most senior bureaucrat in the defence ministry’s four major departments.